Anyone who is serving as a court-appointed guardian for another person, has probably quickly realized that a large part of the job is handling doctors’ appointments and making medical decisions. The Michigan Legislature has recently clarified that a guardian’s powers also include the power to sign a do-not-resuscitate order on behalf of the protected person.
Effective on February 4, 2014, a guardian my sign a do-not-resuscitate order, if he does all of the following:
- Not more than 14 days before signing the order, the guardian must visit the protected person.
- If meaningful conversation with the protected person is possible, the guardian must consult him about signing the do-not-resuscitate order.
- The guardian must consult directly with the protected person’s attending physician as to the specific medical reasons that warrant a do-not-resuscitate order.
If the guardian does sign a do-not-resuscitate order, then at least once a year, the guardian must repeat the steps listed above and decide whether to reaffirm the order. Also, on the annual report, the guardian must note whether he has signed, reaffirmed or revoked a do-not-resuscitate order within the last year. The annual report is filed with the Probate Court and a copy is given to the person who has principal care and custody of the protected person, the spouse and adult children of the protected person or, if there are no adult children, the heirs of the protected person.
Those who receive a copy of the annual report are urged to review it to determine whether a do-not-resuscitate order is in place and whether it is appropriate. A Probate Court has the power to issue an injunction voiding the do-not-resuscitate order if the order was signed contrary to the wishes, or the best interests, of the protected person.